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Actions Included In The Original Totally Rad Action Mix

This is a run-down of all the actions in TRA1, along with some notes about them and their use.  Taken from the PDF manual.

Caffeine Jolt

These actions are meant to create dramatic effects in color images. Can totally change the mood of a photo. They also work pretty well over B&W images, too – don’t forget to try that!

1.     Technicolor Dream World

  • Richens colors, increases contrast and saturation, and softens the image all at the same time.
  • Use the included skin correction layer to correct skintones that have become over-richened by the action.
  • Use the included burn layer on highlights that have become burnt out by the action.

2.     TDW No-Glow

  • Same as above, except without the glowy-softening part.

3.     Prettyizer

  • Like Technicolor Dream World, but more glowy and more subtle.

4.     Super Fun Happy

  • Similar to TDW, except with less saturation increase, and a moderate tonal shift.

5.     Super Fun Happy No Glow – (new in v1.2)

  • Super Fun Happy with less glow.

6.     Rusty Cage

  • Produces a dark, moody, warm treatment. Very goth.

7.     Derelicte

  • Creates a steely, industrial look that’s a little bit cold and gritty.

8.     Grunge Rock

  • Like Derelicte, but even a little grittier.

9.     Pross Crossessed #1

  • A Cross-Processing action. Yellow-pink highlights and cyan-blue shadows.
  • Severely clips shadows and compresses the tonal range.
  • If the overall result looks bad, try running Lights On just before this action to lighten the photo. The shadow clipping is part of what makes it look like bona-fide cross processing, but it can also be unforgiving of slightly dark photos.

10. Pross Crossessed #2

  • A Cross-Processing action. Warmer and less contrasty than Pross Crossessed #1.
  • Creates green-yellow highlights and warm-reddish shadows. Much more “acidy” looking.

11. SX-70

  • Emulates the look of Polaroid SX-70 film (which has now been discontinued).
  • Reduces contrast, compresses the tonal scale and gamut, and softens the image slightly. Retro-Fun!

12. Big Blue

  • This action works wonders on skies. Adds saturation and dramatic contrast.
  • Once the action is run, you’ll need to use the layer mask to indicate areas of sky that you want the action to affect. The best way to do this is with the gradient tool.

13. Green With Envy

  • Similar to Big Blue, except meant for foliage – specifically works wonders on dull greens. Use the attached layer mask to specify the areas of green in the photo.

Daily Grind

These are the less-sexy, nuts-and-bolts actions meant for simple, everyday tasks. Little color tweaks, lightening and darkening, and dodging and burning.

14. Yin/Yang

  • This is our standard-issue dodge / burn action. Paint using the Yang layer to make the photo lighter, and use the Yin layer to make the photo darker.
  • The action will select the Yang layer by default – great for emulating fill light in contrasty photos.
  • This should be one of your most commonly-used actions. Just about every image can benefit from a little dodging and burning.

15. Combine Exposures

  • Simple action that copies the current image into the image below it and adds a layer mask. Great for combining multiple exposures / raw conversions to achieve a greater dynamic range.

16. Oh, Snap!

  • Adds a slight boost in contrast, saturation, and sharpness. Great for images that are a little washed out due to flat light or flare.
  • If you open up the resulting layer group, you’ll see three layers. You can individually toggle those layers on and off (or change their opacity) to control the effect.

17. Vignette & Blur HQ

  • Darkens and blurs the edges of the image.

18. Vignette & Blur Fast

  • Just like above, but use a faster method at the expense of overall quality. Subtle difference.

19. Contrast +

  • Adds a simple S-curve to increase contrast.

20. Contrast + (Luma)

  • Adds a simple S-curve to increase contrast, but doesn’t affect color saturation.

21. Grainstorm

  • Adds grain to an image – great for simulating film grain, or otherwise adding texture to an image that’s “too pretty”.

22. Sharpen for Web

  • Simple sharpening that is great as a final step before posting images to the web.

23. Boutwell Magic Glasses

  • Adds “local contrast” to an image, increasing texture, and the impression of specularity and detail. Subtle, but can make a big difference.
  • Unlike most similar methods, this action is self-masking to avoid creating a strong haloed effect.
  • Can work wonders on photos that look flat and lack texture, dimension, and depth.

24. Boutwell Not-So-Magic Glasses

  • Similar in effect to above, but slightly different. Acts on a larger area of the image, and might introduce some haloing. More subtle effect.

25. De-Blotchifier

  • Reduces chroma noise in an image while leaving the luma noise. Doesn’t exactly reduce noise, but it makes it look much nicer. This basically makes the noise in the image look like film grain, rather than digital noise.

27.  EZ-Burn

  • Adds an edge burn around the outer perimeter of the image. Works regardless of image orientation or aspect ratio. Use only on full-resolution files (not for smaller, web-sized files).

28. Good VS Evil

  • An alternate method of dodging and burning, similar to Yin/Yang.
  • Has more effect on highlights and shadows at the edge of the tonal scale, at the expense of occasionally causing saturation shifts that make things look funky.

29. Warm it Up, Kris

  • Warms up a photo.

30. Cool as a Cucumber

  • Cools down a photo – mathematically, it’s (almost) the inverse of Warm It Up Kris!

31. Banding-Aid

  • Helps eliminate posterization in an image, especially in skies that have been worked over really hard by extreme tonal adjustments. Converts the image to 16 bits, flattens it, and then converts back to 8-bit. If you notice color transitions have bands in them, instead of smooth transitions, try running this action.
  • This action will flatten the entire image, and is therefore best as a final step before saving / printing.

32. Lights On

  • Lightens an image overall.

33. Lights Out

  • Darkens an image overall.

Color Blind

These actions are specifically for converting images to B&W and toning them. Effects range from extreme to mild. Many of the B&W actions are also great at various opacities over a color image – there are a ton of effects possible with that. And the toning actions aren’t just for B&W, either – try them on color images for some cool results.

34. Old-Skool HQ

  • Simulates the look of a vintage (circa 1900) photograph. Converts the image to black and white through an orthochromatic conversion (reminiscent of wetplates), vignettes, blurs the edges (to simulate old-tech lenses), softens, and adds grain, plus creates a warm tone. Lots of stuff, cool effect. Also looks super-neato at lower opacities.

35. Old-Skool Fast

  • Same as above, except uses Gaussian Blur instead of Lens Blur, improving speed at the expense of quality. Basically, the transition from in-focus areas to out-of focus areas will look more like a Photoshop effect, and less like an optical effect.

36. Old-Skool Standard – (new in v1.2)

  • The best compromise between speed and quality.  Most of the Old Skool fabulousness in a fraction of the time.  Recommended.

37. Super Old-Skool HQ

  • Like Old-Skool, but with a more pronounced effect (extreme, really)

38. Super Old Skool Standard – (new in version 1.2)

  • Super Old Skool with the best compromise between speed and quality.  Recommended.

39. Super Old-Skool Fast

  • Faster version with a slight tradeoff in quality.

40. Magical B&W

  • A black-and-white conversion that creates an ethereal, dreamy effect. Can be too much on skin tones or images with very saturated colors. Try Awesome B&W for a similar, but less pronounced effect.

41. Awesome B&W

  • Similar to Magical B&W – creates a dreamy look.

42. Bitchin B&W

  • L.a.b. based B&W conversion – great for creating creamy, smooth skintones.
  • Adds a little snap as well.

43. Boring Old B&W

  • A slightly red-heavy channel mixer-based B&W conversion. Also adds a bit of snap and contrast.

44. Red Filter B&W

  • Really simple action that’s equivalent (basically) to shooting B&W film with a red filter. Dramatically darkens skies in landscapes, and creates a dreamy look, especially in hard light. This will also lighten skin tones considerably (sometimes too much so).
  • Pairs well with Technicolor Dream world and Grainstorm to create a quasiinfared look.
  • Also works well at about half-opacity on color images to create an ethereal color palette.

45. Cinnamon Toast

  • Rich brown B&W toning action.

46. Boring Sepia

  • Simple sepia-ish warm tone.

47. Boring Selenium

  • Simple selenium-esque cold tone.

48. Antique Tone

  • Warms the image throughout the tonal scale (yellowish highlights and reddish-brown shadows), and compresses the tonal range slightly.  Works great as a subtle addition to color images as well.

49. Split Tone #1

  • A subtle split-toning action that creates warm highlights and brownish-purple shadows.

Retouch

This group includes only one action – the only retouching action we use.

50. Pro Retouch

  • This is a generic, action-ified version of a technique used in high-end retouching studios for commercial beauty and fashion. Made especially for retouching skin in tight to semi-tight shots. Smoothes skin and minimizes blotchiness and uneven texture, without eliminating a believable skin texture. It’s pretty smart about maintaining detail over hair, facial features, veils, etc, so you can be a little sloppy with painting in the layer mask. Basically this action blurs out certain patterns of detail, while retaining others.
  • To Use: Simply paint into the layer mask over areas that you want to smooth.
  • If you want to add a little sparkle to eyes, paint into the “Eye Bump” (use sparingly).
  • This action will leave less subtle details intact, such as deep wrinkles, pimples, scars, etc – you’ll have to zap those with the healing brush on your own.
  • Advanced Users: You can tune how much detail is brought back into the image with the four gray-looking layers inside the group (if the default effect is too strong). If you open up the resulting layer group, you’ll find two layer sets, each containing two layers.